Yellowstone National Park – Sightseeing & Things to do

grand prismatic spring in yellowstone national park

Yellowstone National Park, located primarily in the U.S. state of Wyoming, is one of the most renowned national parks in the world. Established in 1872, it holds the distinction of being the first national park not only in the United States but also in the world.

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What to see

Yellowstone National Park offers a plethora of stunning attractions and natural wonders to explore. Here’s a curated list of some must-see sights within the park:

Old Faithful

Witness the iconic geyser’s predictable eruptions, which occur approximately every 90 minutes. The nearby Old Faithful Visitor Education Center provides information about geothermal features and the park’s geology.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Marvel at the colorful canyon walls and the thundering waterfalls of the Yellowstone River. Be sure to visit Artist Point and Inspiration Point for breathtaking viewpoints.

Yellowstone Lake

Explore the largest high-altitude lake in North America, offering opportunities for boating, fishing, and scenic drives along its shoreline.

Mammoth Hot Springs

Wander through terraces of travertine created by the park’s geothermal activity. The boardwalks offer close-up views of the unique formations and vibrant mineral pools.

Grand Prismatic Spring

Admire one of the largest hot springs in the world, known for its vivid colors caused by microbial mats. The best views are from the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook and the Fairy Falls Trail.

Wildlife Viewing

Keep an eye out for Yellowstone’s diverse wildlife, including bison, elk, grizzly bears, wolves, moose, bighorn sheep, and more. Hayden Valley and Lamar Valley are prime locations for wildlife spotting.

Norris Geyser Basin

Explore the park’s hottest and most dynamic thermal area, featuring steam vents, geysers, and colorful hot springs. The Norris Geyser Basin Museum provides insights into the geothermal activity.

Tower Fall

Capture views of the 132-foot (40-meter) waterfall framed by towering rock formations. The overlook provides a stunning vantage point of the waterfall and the surrounding canyon.

Lamar Valley

Known as the “Serengeti of North America,” Lamar Valley offers expansive grasslands where wildlife roam freely. It’s a prime location for observing bison herds, wolves, and other animals.

Roosevelt Arch

Located at the park’s north entrance in Gardiner, Montana, this iconic stone archway bears the inscription “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People.” It serves as a symbolic entrance to Yellowstone.

These are just a few highlights of what Yellowstone National Park has to offer. Whether you’re interested in geothermal features, wildlife or scenic landscapes

Things to do

In addition to the spectacular sights to see, Yellowstone National Park offers a wide range of activities to enhance your experience and make the most of your visit. Here are some things to do while exploring the park:

Hiking

Yellowstone boasts over 900 miles (1,449 kilometers) of hiking trails, ranging from easy strolls to challenging backcountry routes. Choose a trail that suits your fitness level and interests, and don’t forget to check trail conditions and bear safety recommendations before setting out.

Wildlife Watching

Keep your eyes peeled for Yellowstone’s diverse wildlife. Bring binoculars or a camera with a telephoto lens to capture sightings of bison, elk, bears, wolves, eagles, and other animals. Remember to maintain a safe distance and observe wildlife responsibly.

Ranger Programs

Join a ranger-led program to learn about the park’s natural and cultural history. Programs may include guided walks, talks, campfire programs, and educational activities for all ages. Check the park’s schedule for current offerings.

Scenic Drives

Explore Yellowstone’s breathtaking landscapes by car on one of the park’s scenic drives. Highlights include the Grand Loop Road, which connects the park’s major attractions, and the scenic Beartooth Highway outside the park’s northeast entrance.

Boating and Fishing

Rent a kayak, canoe, or motorboat to explore Yellowstone Lake or the park’s rivers and streams. Fishing enthusiasts can cast a line for trout and other native fish species (with a valid fishing license and adherence to park regulations).

Camping

Immerse yourself in the park’s natural beauty by camping under the stars. Yellowstone offers a variety of campgrounds, ranging from developed sites with amenities to primitive backcountry campsites accessible by hiking or paddling.

Geothermal Exploration

Wander the boardwalks of Yellowstone’s geothermal areas, such as Mammoth Hot Springs, Norris Geyser Basin, and Fountain Paint Pot. Take in the otherworldly sights, sounds, and smells of bubbling mud pots, steaming vents, and colorful hot springs.

Picnicking and Relaxation

Pack a picnic and enjoy a meal surrounded by nature at one of the park’s designated picnic areas. Take time to relax, unwind, and appreciate the tranquility of your surroundings.

Junior Ranger Program

If you’re visiting with children, encourage them to participate in the Junior Ranger program. Kids can complete educational activities and earn a Junior Ranger badge while learning about conservation and stewardship.

These activities offer a taste of the countless opportunities for adventure and exploration awaiting you in Yellowstone National Park.

Overall, Yellowstone National Park is a treasure trove of natural wonders, offering visitors the chance to experience awe-inspiring landscapes, diverse wildlife, and geothermal phenomena unlike anywhere else on Earth.

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